Tea for the Bloggerman

So Long, Montreal — Part Three: Take This Waltz
July 1, 2008, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Misc., Travel | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Day two in Montreal was quite pleasant. We started the day someone early, got breakfast before the free hotel breakfast was closed, went back to sleep, woke up, and prepared ourselves. We had two things on our agenda before a special show at the Montreal Jazz Festival: change more US money into Canadian and go to the Montreal Urban Outfitters (clothing store). So we got our stuff together, went down to the lobby to ask directions, and headed out the door.

From the hotel we headed down Rue Phillips to Rue Ste Catherine, which appears to be a major street in Montreal. Lots of outlet stores and whatnot, very nice. We turned and walked down Ste Catherine, changed our money at the nearest opportunity, and headed down the street for five blocks or so, checking out different stores along the way. After getting to the store and looking at everything in it, we grew hungry and sought our daily dosage of Asian food. We found a cute Korean restaurant nearby and found a seat overlooking the street and ordered a box lunch to share. After lunch we walked back down Ste Catherine, checking out stores and stumbling into a large mall that I swear was not there a few hours before. We looked around the mall, got some souvenirs for people back home, some swim trunks (forgot mine in Las Vegas), and more Asian food (fake food court Japanese, tasted wonky). Yum.Mural at the Korean Restaurant

After all that we headed further down Ste Catherine, past Rue Phillips and down a few more blocks to the Montreal Jazz Festival. People abound! Lots of people there enjoying the festival. At 9:30 on the main stage a special tribute concert to Leonard Cohen was to be held, and we got their 3 hours early. Leonard was to be given a special award from the festival, and everyone assumed that he would be there. So we waited, and waited. Three hours later, it began.

Crowd at the tribute concert

Turns out Leonard wasn’t there, but the president of the festival said that exclusive footage of Leonard would be played at the concert instead. And boy did they show great footage. The concert began with a recording of Leonard singing Hallelujah at one of his Montreal concerts, a recording that was projected not only on two large screens above the stage, but also on the side of two nearby buildings. Imagine a city where you can look out your window and see a giant video of Leonard Cohen playing against the Hyatt Regency hotel downtown. Amazing.


Then the concert began. A guitarist walked on stage, bathed in stagelight, and started picking out the chord shapes of Hallelujah. Then a trumpet was heard, but it was not coming from the stage. We looked around, trying to find the trumpet, and soon found it: Chris Botti was playing from the balcony of the Hyatt, a couple of stories above the crowd. A wonderful start to a great concert.


Various performers came on and off the stage to pay homage to Mr. Cohen, many of whom I had never heard of before. But there were some familiar faces: Chris Botti (who returned to the stage later in the evening to play “A Thousand Kisses Deep”), Madeline Peyroeux (who sang a marvelously jazzy version of “Dance Me to the End of Love”), the lead singer of Barenaked Ladies (who sang “A Singer Must Die” and the Cohen song with the line “…your naked body!”), and Leonard’s son Adam who sang a furious version of “Take This Waltz” and a soft version of “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye”. Other singers and preformers played that I had never heard of before, but all were good–Buffy Ste Marie, Garou, Joe Lavano, Katie Melua–and more footage of Leonard singing “Suzanne” and “Closing Time” was played. All in all, an excellent concert.

Barenaked Lady

Adam Cohen


Adam accepting the award on Leonard\'s behalf

From there we made our way out of the crowd to another stage where Annie Sellick and the Hot Club was just starting their set. Wonderful swing music. Then, we ordered some sandwiches at a sub place and took them back to the hotel. We ate, then slept. The end of day two.



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